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Chocolate Braids

"This bread is fantastic and gets rave reviews every time. The recipe is a little more complicated than some, but worth every minute of it."
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. + rising Bake: 30 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 loaves (8 slices each)

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/3 cup honey, divided
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 to 3 cups bread flour
  • CREAM CHEESE FILLING:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • TOPPING:
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • ICING:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons 2% milk

Directions

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 2 teaspoons honey; let stand 5 minutes. Add butter, egg, cocoa, salt, 1-1/2 cups bread flour and remaining honey. Beat 2 minutes or until smooth. Stir in enough remaining bread flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down; divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion into a 12x7-in. rectangle.
  • In a small bowl, beat filling ingredients until smooth. Spread half of the filling over dough to within 1 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.
  • Place seam side down on a large greased baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise, leaving one end intact. Carefully turn cut sides up. Loosely twist strips around each other, keeping cut side up. Pinch ends to seal. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. For topping, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Add nuts. Sprinkle over loaves.
  • Bake 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. In a small bowl, combine confectioner's sugar, cocoa, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over warm loaves.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 274 calories, 11g fat (6g saturated fat), 36mg cholesterol, 147mg sodium, 43g carbohydrate (23g sugars, 2g fiber), 5g protein.
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